Never no shot again


Next year I will take the shot.

For years, I have defied conventional wisdom, or at least as the mass media defines it, when it came to an annual flu shot.

I listened, I read, I ignored (which pretty much means I wasn’t really listening or reading) every year, creating an unnecessary dichotomy in my own household.

My wife, she is a believer; when flu season is approaching she is heading for a flu shot.

I have often wished, much like Christmas, I could only shop early and secure Mrs. Debbie the flu shot for her birthday or our anniversary during the summer.

You know, give the gift that counts, or something like that.

But I was a decidedly atheistic about a flu shot.

The dire warnings and statistics as flu season arrived struck me much like hurricane season.

In 2017, hurricane season was exceptionally brutal to many, here in Florida, in Texas and, for heaven’s sake, in Puerto Rico where some still live without electricity.

But, in Gulf County, hurricane season played out in the same manner as so many.

There were the warnings, some anxious days and hours, but in the end much wind and waves signifying only the beach was losing again.

Hurricane season, I have found, acknowledging here my status as a blow-in, is only serious, only catastrophic, if it is your home, your business, your streets under water, your lives upended.

An immunity to the danger builds, almost naturally in us humans, to the power, the dangers, of a hurricane when year after year passes without a direct hit, without loss of property and life.

(A little dramatic there, but the point is the point).

Flu season has always struck the same way, annual reports of its arrival followed a few months later with it passing from the area without scathing me.

I always figured I had a couple of built-in advantages.

One is my way-above-my-station wife.

Anybody who knows Mrs. Debbie, whether her parents, her students or her co-workers, knows that Mrs. Debbie and clean hands go together like, what is the saying, love and marriage?

Unconcerned with exits, my wife knows the directions to every sink running warm water in any building she enters; she has the rest, whether the antiseptic wipes or some exotic form of soap.

It is not even the product of teaching 3-year-olds, at least not entirely.

But that woman maintains clean hands, and manages to keep mighty fine skin on them.

There is no other way to say it.

The second advantage, or alleged advantage I should say, is one only used by those who carry the male chromosomes, a delusional mindset that ingrains in us the belief that something like the flu, the flu?, can’t touch us.

It is just one of those things men carry around to signify, if it needs to be signaled, that our minds don’t always work well within the doman of common sense.

In sum, I have pretty much coasted through flu season after flu season without really thinking twice.

Until this year.

This year the flu and I got up close and personal and I will promise now, in writing for the benefit of my wife, another season will not pass without a shot in my right arm, or left, or rear end, I will not care.

It snuck up on me,

I was definitely not looking.

I had even published what year after year I figure will be my antidote, a story extolling the perils of flu season (with the hidden message that, ha, ha, wasn’t going to apply to me).

Then, over a recent weekend, flu knocked on the door and I, like a fool, an arrogant fool, answered, apparently happily, I have no clue.

There is a television commercial for a cold or allergy remedy that is based around a rather large man appearing oh so puny, puffy, teary eyes, swollen and pale face, hunched over in pajamas while sitting in the bathroom, thermometer jutting from his mouth.

I felt as if that guy was sitting on my chest.

The act of moving from bedroom to living room recliner took on the momentous challenge of climbing Mount Everest.

Hearing the phone ring was nails-on-chalkboard and my appetite could be sated by an ice cube.

You wrestle with that most difficult and personal of issues.

How much do you adhere to the admonishment to drink plenty of liquids when it means plenty of trips out of the chair or bed which you may or may not be able, or willing, to navigate?

I debated that one again and again.

And in a day or so you can convince yourself you are fine and are ready to go about your day, until stepping into the shower brings on the feeling you are on the rim readying to dive headlong into the Grand Canyon.

The upside, at least as far as my wife is concerned, is that I have finally seen the light.

And I am here to preach, yes, preach, that the flu shot represents a tiny inconvenience compared to feeling like you just survived, and barely at that, 15 rounds with an evil alien from another planet.

This not a message from the Florida Department of Health, but the flu shot, I am here to testify, is well worth the effort.

Just don’t cut the line in front of me.